Blue Springs native accuses former pastor of grooming her: ‘I’m glad I did speak out’

Isabelle “Izzy” Davis says she did not go public with her story for years in part because she believed her former pastor had learned his lesson.

But roughly one month ago, the 23-year-old heard from another person from her old church that Bobby Hawk, Blue Springs school board president and local pastor, had “done it again.”

“I’m glad I did speak out. Because I had no idea how long it had been going on and how many people he had hurt,” Davis told The Star by phone on Thursday.

In the day since Davis posted a blog detailing disturbing accounts involving Hawk from years ago, the Kansas City area pastor resigned from the school board, was put on leave from EPIC Church KC and is facing a police investigation.

The firestorm is centered on allegations Hawk “groomed” Davis, along with a specific encounter when Davis was 12 years old. She says Hawk grasped her hand and placed it underneath his thigh, holding it there as they watched much of the movie “Prestige” during a youth group sleepover at his home.

Efforts by The Star to reach Hawk by phone and email Thursday were unsuccessful. Online profiles of Hawk’s were also being removed from the internet as he faces heightened scrutiny related to his tenure as a founding pastor of EPIC.

Since the allegations became public Wednesday, Hawk has faced mounting calls on social media for his outster from his Independence-based church. He is also now the subject of a criminal investigation led by the Blue Springs Police Department.

Davis posted her story on a blog website she created called bobbyhawkgroomedme.org. She says Hawk paid special attention to her not long after her family joined his church, showing her how to perform magic tricks and inviting her out to family dinners.

After the encounter during the sleepover, Davis says Hawk instructed her not to tell anyone about the way he held her hand. She kept quiet for roughly a decade before first opening up to her family about two years ago.

After Davis shared her experience with Hawk online, several others critical of Hawk’s behavior have stepped forward on Facebook, some changing their profile pictures to an “I Stand With Izzy” banner.

A voicemail left by a Star reporter with EPIC Church KC on Thursday went unreturned. The church later shared on its website an announcement that Hawk had been placed on leave “pending further review.”

Two services for Sunday were canceled.

“We ask that you take time this Sunday to pray for our church family and for wisdom as our board of directors considers the next steps for all involved,” the statement, signed by the EPIC Board of Directors.

In addition to his work as a pastor, Hawk also served as president of Blue Springs Board of Education. He was first elected to the post in 2022.

The public school board in a statement Wednesday said Hawk had offered his resignation, which was unanimously accepted by his fellow board members.

Details of the police investigation were few. Jennifer Brady, a spokeswoman for the Blue Springs Police, confirmed in an email Thursday an investigation had been opened and officers were seeking additional information.

“With this now being an open investigation, I am not at liberty to speak further on the investigation,” Brady said.

‘It’s been really tough’

Davis quit going to EPIC after her 18th birthday. But she’s still had occasional encounters with Hawk outside of church.

She says he handed her her high school diploma when she graduated. And in May, she said, Hawk came up to her family — they weren’t on talking terms at that point — after her younger brother finished high school.

It was upsetting for them, especially her mother, Davis said.

Since posting her story online, Davis said she’s heard an outpouring of support as well as other testimonials concerning Hawk’s behavior, including his treatment of female church staff.

Davis said that she considers herself “lucky” because his behavior with her “stopped before it went too far.”

“Seeing all the stories about people who weren’t that lucky, it’s been really tough,” she said. “But I’m glad that they’re also getting their stories told finally, and justice is being served.”

The Blue Springs Police Department posted on social media that it’s “reaching out to people who may be able to provide more information,” inviting tipsters to call 816-228-0151.